|Photo credit: c.chich on Flickr|
You see, when I wrote that post I mentioned this thing I hadn't tried, but I'd heard a lot about called Write or Die. In short, Write or Die is an app meant to strip out all other distractions and get you writing. How? It's pretty simple.
Before your writing session you set the amount of time you'd like to write and what your word count goal is. As I've been combining Write or Die with #wordmongering sessions (more on that later), I usually set it to 30 minutes and 500 words.
After you've dictated your goals, you may choose four different "consequences" and three different "grace periods." The Web App looks like this:
According to the website, the consequences are as follows (and I quote):
"Gentle Mode: A certain amount of time after you stop writing, a box will pop up, gently reminding you to continue writing.
Normal Mode: If you persistently avoid writing, you will be played a most unpleasant sound. The sound will stop if and only if you continue to write.
Kamikaze Mode: Keep Writing or Your Work Will Unwrite Itself."
So Kamikaze mode sounds really terrifying and I'll probably never use it, BUT I've been writing on normal mode with a strict grace period (I'm thinking I may brave evil, just to try it) and it's been fantastic. (Quick note: After you finish your Write or Die session, copy and paste everything over to whatever word processor you use. I can't say for sure if the paid versions save your work, but the web app most certainly does not.)
Ok, so the catch? I don't just use Write or Die.
You see, also about a month ago, my Twitter buddy @surlymuse wrote about combining #wordmongering with Write or Die. If you ask me, it's pure genius.
For those of you who don't know what #wordmongering is, you can check out my #wordmongering post which basically explains its awesomeness or take a look at the the handy dandy #wordmongering website created by #wordmongering co-founder @notveryalice.
In short, #wordmongering is a Twitter hashtag where writers get together and have thirty minute writing sprints starting at the top of every hour. At the end of the sprint, you share your word count achievements with each other, throw some virtual confetti around and take a break until the next sprint. It's a fantastic tool with some great people that really gets you writing.
So when I read about combining Write or Die with #wordmongering, I was intrigued. Could it really work?
I tried it. In my first Write or Die/#wordmongering combination sprint, I wrote over 1,000 words. In thirty minutes.
That's a pretty big deal for me. In months of writing I had only breached the 1,000 word mark in a half hour maybe two or three times. My average was somewhere around 500 words (which is why I chose 500 as my goal when I set my first Write or Die session up) and it wasn't uncommon to drag along in 400 word thirty minute spurts.
You see, Write or Die forces you to keep your fingers on the keyboard at all times. Even if you're only hitting the backspace and enter key to avoid that horrendous noise and scary red screen (which *ehem* I NEVER do or anything), something about keeping your fingers on the keyboard with the constant feeling of that timer about ready to go off at any moment when you stop writing makes you realize that it is most certainly possible to keep writing at all costs. More possible than you might have imagined.
Combine this with the support group and friendly competition of #wordmongering, and you have yourself a lethal strategy to getting those words down quickly.
So there you go. The secret is out.
Have you tried the Write or Die/#wordmongering combination?